California unveils ambitious climate plan
California announced a major plan today to fight global warming. They unveiled an ambitious plan for clean cars, renewable energy and tough caps on big polluting industries.
The plan, which aims to reduce pollutants by 10 percent from current levels by 2020 while driving investment in new energy technologies that will benefit the state's economy, is the most comprehensive yet by any U.S. state.
It could serve as a blueprint not only for the rest of the United States, but also for other big polluting nations like China and India, planners and environmental groups said.
"This is of tremendous importance, not only for California," Mary Nichols, chairman of the influential California Air Resources Board (CARB), said on a conference call with reporters on Wednesday. "By taking action here ... we will be able to help motivate other states in our nation."
At a meeting in Sacramento on Thursday, CARB staff will present a series of proposals that would become law in 2012, with some measures going into effect two years earlier.
The initiatives include implementing a cap-and-trade program on carbon dioxide emissions that will require buildings and appliances to use less energy, oil companies to make cleaner fuels, and utilities to provide a third of their energy from renewable sources like wind and solar power.
The program also aims to encourage more walking, shorter commutes to work, and high-speed rail as an alternative to air travel.
Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger has said that he supports the program.
CARB said the measures will benefit residents of the most populous U.S. state by reducing pollution-related illnesses such as asthma and bronchitis, and by stimulating investments in new energy technologies that will create jobs.
Nichols declined to speculate on what the program will cost for individual business sectors such as the utility industry, but said the initiatives overall should benefit the state's economy by about 1 percent starting in 2020.
"Since most of the measures in this plan are designed to make our state more energy-efficient, we believe we can predict with confidence that this is a plan that works to the benefit of the California economy," Nichols said.
California has long been a leader for the rest of the United States in terms of climate change and the plan is to reduce annual emissions per capita to 10 tons of carbon dioxide per person by 2020. Each person has a carbon footprint of 14 tons per person at the moment.
California is in need of an environmental overhaul.
I love San Francisco… I really do.
I was born in The City, raised just over the Golden Gate Bridge in Marin County, and have now lived in S.F. going on four years. The people are great, the weather is (typically) nice, there’s always something to do, and the area is just beautiful. I can’t think of a better place to live, work and experience life than in San Francisco, California.
But lately, I’m starting to see a different city than the one I’ve grown so accustomed to. A city that’s dirty -- with trash, debris and pet droppings everywhere. A city that’s poor -- with homeless sleeping just about everywhere and aggressive panhandlers approaching me everyday. And now I’m seeing a city that appears pretty dangerous, as I continually read in the papers about another violent crime or hear about some sort of incident.
Maybe I’ve just been naïve all these years… After all, in any city environment, where there are hundreds of thousands of people, there are bound to be issues. But from my vantage point, these issues aren’t going away; in fact, they’re getting worse. And it bothers me San Francisco just stands by idly while it gets dirtier, poorer, and more dangerous.
This blogger suggests his own solutions:
-Impose heavy fines for people who are caught not picking up after their pets, and/or littering. This includes fines for not properly disposing of cigarette butts, food, gum, etc. $100 fines on the spot.
-Impose fines (or “fix-it”-like tickets) to home owners, apartment managers, business owners, etc. if the area in front of their building is not clean.
-[This is kind of radical, but…] Employ homeless people to pick-up garbage and debris around city streets, and compensate them not in cash, but in housing and food credits. (i.e. If person is found to have collected x amount of pounds in trash, and/or has collected trash for eight hours, they’d be entitled to two nights stay in city-run shelter with meals included).
-Fees for pet owners! We pay annual fees for parking and owning homes, right? Let’s charge pet owners with a “pet permit” ($150 a year) and this money will go to city cleaning efforts.
-Create mandatory recycling laws (like they do in London, England). Impose fine on people/organizations that do not recycle glass, plastic and paper.